Stars Shine in the Daytime: Contemporary Prints by Derrière L’Étoile Studio Now On View

March 14, 2013

Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers Spotlights Collaborations

Between Contemporary Artists and Legendary Printmaking Studio

New Brunswick, NJ – The first prints created by Keith Haring, Jeff Koons, and Elizabeth Murray – among others who defined the American art scene in the 1980s – launch a series of three exhibitions at the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers. “Stars: Contemporary Prints by Derrière L’Étoile Studio” is the first survey of the studio’s printmaking achievements. Founded in 1978 in New York by printer Maurice Sánchez, Derrière L’Étoile quickly became one of the leading printmaking studios in America. The first selection of works, on view March 23 to September 29, 2013, features prints from the 1980s through the early 1990s. Among the artists showcased are Vito Acconci, John Baldessari, Sarah Charlesworth, Barbara Kruger, Sherrie Levine, Robert Longo, Susan Rothenberg, Kenny Scharf, and Laurie Simmons.

When Sánchez founded his workshop, he called it “Derrière L’Étoile”—meaning “behind the star” in French­­—to express his role as part of a technical team supporting the artist in printmaking projects. “In the late 20th century, many artists created images by using original photography, as well as manipulating commercially published stock photographs or film stills,” explains Marilyn Symmes, Director of the Zimmerli’s Morse Research Center for Graphic Arts and Curator of Prints and Drawings. “Derrière L’Étoile Studio already excelled at lithography. It then became one of the first workshops to combine new offset, photographic, and digital technologies in realizing these innovative images.”

In fact, during this period, numerous artists deliberately created art that challenged notions of representation, originality, authorship, and appropriation. “As prints in this exhibition series exemplify,” Symmes continues, “some artists also explored new forms of abstraction, while others exploited popular culture or adapted the pictorial vocabulary of graffiti or cartoons.”

The exhibition opens with Elizabeth Murray’s first lithographs (1980-81), an untitled series of a sinuous “Z” shape. The prints show the process of evolving an image step-by-step and reflect her inspiration from a lithographic print series by Pablo Picasso. In “Six Rooms” (1993), John Baldessari juxtaposed film stills with words prompted by the pictures. Using his mind as a “camera” (“room” in Latin), the artist arranged the image-word pairings to create a new story unrelated to the original cinematic context.

One of the most recognized contemporary artists to emerge in the 1980s, Jeff Koons chose printmaking in his efforts to undermine traditional art making and the elitism of the original work of art. He exploited the then-increasing role of consumerism on the art market with his early photo-lithographic print “Art Magazine Ads: Artforum” (from the 1988-89 series “Art Magazine Ads”). Koons once remarked about the piece, “[This] ad shows me in front of a blackboard indoctrinating very young children…really too vulnerable for such an indoctrination into my art. I really wanted to direct that sense of vulnerability to the ‘Artforum’ readership, the people who hate me, to make them just grit their teeth and hate me even more because I was taking away their future…the youth of tomorrow.”

“The exhibition also celebrates the Zimmerli’s longtime relationship with Maurice Sánchez,” notes Suzanne Delehanty, the museum’s director. With great generosity, Sánchez has donated more than 500 printer’s proofs since 1982, when the museum launched the Rutgers Archives for Printmaking Studios to document aspects of printmaking in the United States. Delehanty continues, “These prints are an important resource for the museum’s exhibitions and educational programs about contemporary art, in addition to complementing the studies of Rutgers University faculty and students.”

Maurice Sánchez studied art history and lithography at the University of New Mexico and painting at the San Francisco Art Institute. He also received a fellowship at the Tamarind Lithography Workshop (then in Los Angeles). In 1972, Petersburg Press recruited Sánchez to work in New York with James Rosenquist on a series of prints based on his paintings, including his monumental “F-111” (1964-65), which is now in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York. In 1978, Sánchez founded Derrière L’Étoile Studio, which continues to produce major prints and multiples projects by some of the most recognized names in contemporary art.

The second exhibition, on view at the Zimmerli Art Museum from October 5, 2013, to March 2, 2014, features prints of the 1990s by Donald Baechler, Mel Bochner, Louise Bourgeois, Carroll Dunham, Robert Gober, Red Grooms, Donald Judd, Robert Mangold, Georgia Marsh, Paul McCarthy, Tim Rollins and KOS, Renée Stout, Kara Walker, and others. The third selection in the series, from March 8 to July 31, 2014, includes prints created from 2000 to the present by John Baldessari, Eric Fischl, Walton Ford, April Gornik, Yvonne Jacquette, Alex Katz, Jeff Koons, Christian Marclay, Elizabeth Peyton, Raymond Pettibon, and others.

The exhibition was selected from the Zimmerli’s extensive print collection and is organized by Marilyn Symmes, Director, Morse Research Center for Graphic Arts and Curator of Prints and Drawings, with Beth McKeown, Assistant Curator of Prints and Drawings, and Boyoung Chang, an intern at the Zimmerli Art Museum and a graduate student in the Department of Art History at Rutgers University.

This exhibition is supported in part by the Fifth Floor Foundation.


“Stars: Contemporary Prints by Derrière L’Étoile Studio” is spotlighted on April 3 during Art After Hours, the eclectic evening series held on the first Wednesday of the month from 5 to 9 p.m. at the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers. The evening begins at 5:30 p.m. with an exhibition tour led by curator Marilyn Symmes and Maurice Sánchez. At 6:30 p.m., a conversation program features the curator and Maurice Sánchez, who discusses anecdotes and insights about the creative process behind Derrière L’Étoile Studio collaborations with artists over the past three decades. A question and answer session follows. Admission is $6 for adults; $5 for 65 and over; and free for museum members, children under 18, and Rutgers students, faculty, and staff (with ID).


The Jane Voorhees Zimmerli Art Museum houses more than 60,000 works of art, ranging from ancient to contemporary art. The permanent collection features particularly rich holdings in nineteenth-century French art; Russian art from icons to the avant-garde; Soviet nonconformist art from the Dodge Collection; and American art with notable holdings of prints. In addition, small groups of antiquities, old master paintings, as well as art inspired by Japan and original illustrations for children’s books, provide representative examples of the museum’s research and teaching message at Rutgers. One of the largest and most distinguished university-based art museums in the nation, the Zimmerli is located on the New Brunswick campus of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Established in 1766, Rutgers is America’s eighth oldest institution of higher learning and a premier public research university.


The Zimmerli Art Museum is supported by Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, as well as the income from the Avenir Foundation Endowment Fund, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Endowment Fund, and the Voorhees Family Endowment Fund, among others. Additional support comes from the Estate of Victoria J. Mastrobuono and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts. Contributions from other corporations, foundations, and individuals, as well as earned income, also provide vital annual support for the Zimmerli’s operations and programs.


The Zimmerli Art Museum is located at 71 Hamilton Street at George Street on the College Avenue campus of Rutgers University in New Brunswick. The Zimmerli is a short walk from the NJ Transit train station in New Brunswick, midway between New York City and Philadelphia.

Hours are Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m., and the first Wednesday of each month (except August), 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. The museum is closed Mondays, major holidays, and the month of August.

Admission is $6 for adults; $5 for 65 and over; and free for museum members, children under 18, and Rutgers students, faculty, and staff (with ID). Admission is free on the first Sunday of every month. For more information, call 848.932.7237 or visit the museum’s website


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